Stamp thief enjoyed ‘lifestyle beyond his means’ after pocketing £90,000 in stamps

A small-town store manager and big-time thief enjoyed “a lifestyle beyond his means” before an internal investigation led to his arrest last month.

BBC reports Andrew Swales, 39, of Holmfirth, pleaded guilty to pocketing thousands of first- and second-class stamp books – totalling about £90,000 (about $165,000 Cdn.) – while working as manager of a Co-op store from 2009-12. According to Yorkshire Police detectives, Swales sold the stamps for about 70 per cent of their face value, pocketing about £60,000 (or about $110,000 Cdn.) to fund various vacations, electronic goods and a profound gambling habit.

Police arrested Swales following an internal investigation revealed large, high-value stamp orders were nowhere to be found.

“There is a market for second-hand stamps,” Detective Constable Graeme Badcock told BBC. “If companies, for example, go out of business, and they have a quantity of stamps that they want to get rid of, there is an outlet to sell surplus stock. But, Mr. Swales took advantage of that and saw an opportunity for himself to make some extra money.”

Badcock said Swales attempted to blame a colleague before a large amount of first- and second-class stamps were recovered by police during a raid of his home.

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